SIT on mining seeks extension of term till Jan 2017

SIT on mining seeks extension of term till Jan 2017

The Lokayukta office has sought extension of the term of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the illegal mining cases in the State. The SIT was formed in January 2014 to probe cases of illegal mining mentioned in the Lokayukta report part-2 and the cases referred by the Supreme Court.

The term of the SIT expires by January 2016 and according to the letter seeking extension of its tenure, the SIT has requested to grant time till January 24, 2017, for completing the investigation.

The SIT has so far registered 68 FIRs based on both the Lokayukta report part-2 and cases referred by the apex court. A senior official said that of these cases, 21 were based on the findings of the Lokayukta report while, 42 had been taken up on the directions of the Supreme Court.

The latter pertain to illegal mining and export of iron ore from Belekeri port near Karwar. Besides, the SIT has also registered five cases referred by the Lokayukta.
 The Lokayukta report submitted in 2011 had stated that the mining scam in the State had caused a loss to the tune of Rs 16,058 crore to the exchequer in a span of four years.

The report had named 787 officials and 100 companies for their involvement in illegal mining between 2006 and July 2010. However, the SIT has not been directed to probe into the cases of illegal mining mentioned in Lokayukta report part-1, involving cases of irregularities by the Mysore Minerals Limited (MML).

“The SIT has been finalising cases in the last six months. So far the it has filed final reports in 25 cases. The request for extension of the term is before the government and we hope the Cabinet will take a decision,'' a Lokayukta official said.

Meanwhile, the State government is yet to constitute a special court for hearing mining cases. The proposal for a special court is pending before the government since almost eight months.

A special court constituted under the amended provisions of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act can take up all cases pertaining to illegal granite and sand mining.

As per the Act, the State government may, for the purposes of providing speedy trial of offences, may constitute as many special courts as may be necessary.

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